Tyrone hosts Christian Family Faith Day

A biker who had no time for God, now talks to prisoners and motorcycle gangs about him.

It was an encounter with God 33 years ago that changed the Rev. Al Paquette’s life. He said he was not even seeking God when it happened. Yet he was freed from multiple years of addiction to alcohol and drugs overnight.

Paquette will share his faith when he speaks at noon Aug. 25 in Tyrone as part of the sixth annual Christian Family Faith Day Celebration.

After his talk, a Community Care Motorcycle Ride will begin about 1 p.m.

The celebration is just one of Paquette’s stops in Pennsylvania where he annually visits prisons, including the State Correctional Institutions at Somerset, Benner Township and Smithfield, as well as the Quehanna Boot Camp in Karthaus. Originally from New England, he also visits prisons in New Hampshire.

In Florida, where he lives, he makes a point once a month to seek the inmates who rarely get a visitor — the men on death row.

He has reached most of these destinations on a motorcycle. Through the years, he and his wife, Sharon, have traveled to more than 40 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. In 2001, they covered 7,000 miles in 25 days and crossed 25 different states.

They have been to numerous motorcycle rallies, including Sturgis in South Dakota, which draws bikers from all over the world.

Paquette, who has a bachelor of arts degree in religion, said he walks around and loves on people like Jesus did, when he and Sharon attend a bike rally.

“They don’t want to be preached at,” he said.

His demeanor has earned him respect in the biker world to the point where he was asked to be chaplain of the North Florida Confederation of Clubs. The organization is made up of numerous biker groups, including the infamous Outlaws and Warlocks.

Paquette explained that even the tough guys find themselves in circumstances where they want prayer.

“Maybe their kid is in jail or they are going through a rough marriage,” he said. In keeping with his spirit of loving others, Paquette asks for God’s favor and help.

“They always need a blessing,” he said.

Music to fill stage

Along with a motivational speaker, the celebration will include lots of joyful sounds on the Norman Huff Christian Music Stage from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Dawn Pardoe of New Dawn Ministries is the featured artist. She sings a variety of music, including hymns, modern country and Southern gospel.

Among the groups she likes are Joey and Rory, a country duo who sing about family, love, God and country, as well as Southern gospel favorites Karen Peck and New River, the Easters and Heather Clark.

Pardoe, originally from Lewistown, grew up singing with her family — the Kauffman Family — for many years. Then, she sang in a worship band and was a worship leader in a group.

Her career as a solo artist began in 2014.

In addition to being a vocalist, Pardoe said she enjoys writing and finds that lyrics often come while she is spending time in her prayer closet.

“Most of it comes out of heartache,” she said, “but the words are always uplifting in the end.”

Recordings of her performances can be found on YouTube as well as the New Dawn Ministries Facebook page.

“My concerts are very down to earth,” she said. “We laugh; We have a lot of fun.”

Movie about acceptance

Capping off the first day of the two-day event will be the movie “Wonder.”

It is based on the New York bestseller which tells the inspiring story of August Pullman, a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade at a main stream elementary school for the first time. As his family, classmates, and the community struggle to find their compassion and acceptance, August’s journey unites them all. It stars Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. The movie will be shown at 8 p.m. at Reservoir Park and free popcorn and refreshments will be served.

If it rains, the movie will be shown at Grace Baptist Church, 2308 Adams Ave., Tyrone.

Activities all day

In between the major events, festival-goers can visit the booths where various churches and vendors will sell food and provide other activities, such as a bounce house and face-painting for children. The event also includes a 5K Faith Race at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 25 to begin the day and ends with a worship service at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Christian Missionary Alliance Church.

Sue Griep, organizer of the event, said more churches and organizations are partnering with Faith Day every year.

She noted that this year, Northern Blair County Recreation Center is sponsoring the 5-K race, Blair Drug and Alcohol Program is sponsoring the movie and Tyrone Area Cooperative Ministries is sponsoring the motorcycle ride.

The two-day event is sponsored by Tyrone Events & Promotions, which will also conduct two programs that normally are held during Tyrone Community Days. The community days were canceled earlier this month due to rain. Its annual basket raffle and the naming of the Hometown Hero will be held during Family Faith Day.

“Every year, we give this event to our Lord and Savior, and He has richly blessed this event in so many ways. … with church participation, events, the talents of many people, great weather and streets filled with people,” Griep said.

“Tyrone is a great community for many reasons, but for Christian churches to come together in unity every year and connect, fellowship and celebrate our faith is just amazing. I hope it continues long after I am gone.”

Upcoming events

– The Community Care Motorcycle Ride will start at 1 p.m. Aug. 25 in downtown Tyrone.

The bikers will take a scenic route to Boalsburg, where a pulled pork dinner will be served by Calvary Harvest Fields Church.

Cost for the ride is $20 the day of the ride or $15 in advance. Pastor Randy Zitterbart of Hillside Church in Tyrone is organizing the event and is requesting bikers register by Aug. 23 for meal planning purposes. To register, call him at 931-9493.

The event will benefit the Tyrone Area Cooperative Ministries to assist people in the Tyrone area with needs.

– The 5K Faith Race will begin at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 25 in the M&T parking lot, downtown Tyrone. Registration is at 8 a.m. The run will take place in the borough.

Cost is $30 with proceeds to benefit the Northern Blair County Recreation Center. To register, visit www.nbcrc.com, complete the form and mail it or bring it to the center. T-shirts will be available to those who register in advance with any remaining shirts distributed at the race.